Fashion Seasons Explained: How It Started & How It’s Going In 2022 And Beyond

Fashion seasons may be perplexing and even intimidating. There has been much discussion about the fashion industry shifting away from seasonal collections. Therefore we believe it is necessary to analyze why we have seasons in the first place and how they operate now.

In this article, we’ll look at why there’s been such a strong push for “seasonless” fashion, as well as what it implies for customers. We’ll also look at some of the most popular forecasts for the end of the seasonal apparel lines and the advent of the ultra-fast-fashion.

What are fashion seasons?

I know it can be confusing. When is summer, when is winter? Where are spring and fall in this mix? 

Officially, fashion is divided into four seasons. These are Spring/Summer (SS), Autumn/Winter (AW), Resort, and Pre-Fall. SS and AW fashion weeks are held in Paris, Milan, New York, and London.

The name Resort arose because the wealthiest fashion house clientele would purchase these designs on their vacations.

Back in the day, there were only two fashion seasons: SS and AW. But if we look fast forward to the present, some fashion businesses produce 52 micro-seasons every year. With new trends emerging every week, the purpose is for customers to purchase as much clothing as possible rapidly.

Let’s see how and why this transition happened and what we can expect in the future.

Why does the fashion world need seasons in the first place?

Previously, we thought of seasons as periods when the weather changed and imagined that major fashion seasons were about altering what you wore in response to the changing climate: Warmer garments in colder weather, brighter colors in the sun, and more practical designs when it’s wet.

It turns out to be significantly more complicated. The seasons serve as a global metronome for the worldwide fashion business, defining the speed and time for developing, marketing, and selling new collections.

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Aside from those who design, manufacture, and sell clothing, many other individuals whose companies are in sync with the fashion industry’s cycles need to be in the know. Apart from the prominent examples such as the publishing, advertising, and logistics/distribution sectors, there are maybe more surprise actors such as Pantone, the people who play such an essential role in determining the colors used in practically everything we see around us.

When are the fashion seasons showcased and sold?

Surprisingly, SS begins in January and lasts until June, whereas AW lasts from July to December. Resort collections are available from October through December, while Pre-Fall collections are available before the AW collections come.

The confusion arises, of course, since the Summer and Resort collections are marketed in January when it is freezing! It’s the same in the winter; winter apparel is sold in July when it’s still warm outside.

This is because fashion brands and shops like to launch new fashion lines as soon as possible so that the previous season will be put up for sale.

How about Fashion Week?

When it comes to Fashion Week, things become much more complicated.

SS collections are displayed to the press during Fashion Week in September for the following summer. In contrast, AW collections are shown in February next winter.

Fashion Week informs the season’s trends. Retail customers need time to see the collections and pick which items to purchase. Fashion editors also need time to pick samples and photograph editorials for the season.

Because Resort and Pre-fall collections do not have their Fashion Weeks, labels often shoot them separately and send them out to the press.

And Suddenly, Four Seasons Aren’t Enough

Despite being motivated by creativity, the fashion industry is rather traditional in terms of business. As a result, it was considered rather inventive when particular designers began breaching the norms and showcasing their range between the two established seasons. 

These were known as Pre-collections and were often the ready-to-wear selection for a designer before the debut of the more exclusive items.

Once the concept was shown to work, everyone came on board. We now have Pre-collections from May to July ahead of the September SS fashion season and then again in November/December ahead of the AW range for the following year. That’s where terms like Resort, Cruise, First summer, Peak summer, and Pre-fall collection come from.

Surprisingly, fashion brands typically earn more from their Pre-collection since they stay in shops for longer and are often less spectacular, more wearable items that won’t steal the thunder from the upcoming big season. As a result, the pre-seasons are typically more accessible to people who don’t want to attempt to pull off the melodrama of the new main collections.

Is seasonality in fashion coming to an end?

In a world where worldwide travel has grown more inexpensive, you may visit numerous places in a single year; therefore, there is a greater demand for clothing less reliant on the season. For example, you can observe a sleeveless appearance in AW fashion with bright bursting colors or the subdued look and jackets in SS attire.

While traditionalists consider seasonless fashion sinful, it seems fair to us that we’ve had to shift to a season-neutral manner of dressing since Fashion Week’s inception a century ago.

We believe that you should not store your favorite clothing because someone else feels they are out of date.

As designers grapple with climate change, we wonder how it will affect the conventional seasonal model. Designers present their SS collections in September, followed by an AW drop six months later. While Pre-fall and Pre-spring collections have always been profitable, the attention has always centered on these two shows, as designers present their ideas for the next season.

However, when the reality of the climate catastrophe dawns, you might argue that we’ve outgrown the necessity for this old paradigm; designers may no longer feel fit to produce under these same stringent confines. 

We’ve seen unexpected products and trends for the season, as well as designers moving away from trends in favor of putting timeless pieces on the catwalk during the most recent shows.

Collections are more seasonless than ever, as companies take a more deliberate approach to a collection’s durability.

Shift to fast-fashion, 52 seasons and beyond

Apart from changes in climate and travel patterns, the fashion business has seen substantial changes in garments’ design, manufacture, and sale in recent years.

In the 1990s, the Spanish retailer Zara pioneered the fast-fashion business model. Zara famously abandoned the notion of fashion seasons in favor of a year-long manufacturing cycle that presented buyers to new things every few weeks. Its popularity led other designers and businesses, like H&M and Forever 21, to follow in its footsteps into the following decade.

Fast fashion provides customers with apparel at a quicker rate. Fast fashion firms are structured differently from higher-end fashion labels functioning on a seasonal fashion cycle for years.

Every year, fast fashion firms produce around 52 micro-seasons. They have an overabundance of inventory, an extensive target market. They can provide cheap pricing due to a lack of quality and the sheer volume they sell.

Toward the end of the 2010s, “ultra-fast” fashion firms — Asos, Boohoo, Fashion Nova, and now Shein — emerged as viable rivals to the previous decade’s major fashion empires.

Take, for example, Shein. You can find tens of thousands of styles on the retailer’s website. Like its forefathers, Shein’s business philosophy is based on the idea that more is better, that excess can be made available at strangely cheap rates, with little regard for environmental consequences of openness regarding its workforce.

However, Shein’s rise as a fast-fashion behemoth cannot be credited only to the low cost of its garments or its widespread online presence. However, its low prices have secured a devoted consumer base, drawn in by an ever-changing roster of women’s clothes and accessories, with an average of 2,000 SKUs added every day. The retailer is also not found in the actual world, at least not in physical storefronts.

Shein looked to have risen out of nowhere into the mainstream, in contrast to fast fashion’s old guard, whose vast, brilliantly illuminated boutiques demonstrated their supremacy. 

While venture investors and internet entrepreneurs hail Shein as the future of fashion, the company’s meteoric development did not happen by accident. Its success is based on several reasons, ranging from geopolitical trade rules to a decades-old, fragmented global fashion industry.

Final thoughts

In fashion, it is apparent that we are moving away from seasons. Fast and ultra-fast fashion has rendered the concept of a “fashion season” obsolete, but what does this imply for our future? Designers will still need to develop collections with a unified vision or narrative, but perhaps not one depending on the season.

What are your thoughts? Will there be more originality in clothing design now that they don’t have to be seasonal? Share your opinions in the comments section!

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